Sen Reair Sen. Scott on Sessions Nomination CSPAN February 8, 2017 9:08pm-9:41pm EST
the honorable and trustworthy person, smart and good lawyer w and a thoughtful and open-minded listener, someone who will be principled, fair and a capableor attorney general. the colleague wants to be attorney general for all americans. later today we will vote to give him the chance and i will have more to say about our friend and colleague at that time. before i get into my speech regarding senator sessions, i want to talk about what occurred last night. first, there is no doubt in my mind that the letter written by coretta scott king could and mer perhaps should be read by each and every member of the chamber regardless of if you disagree with the conclusions her standing in the history of theld nation needs her voice should be heard.
the remarks shared last night stated by senator kennedy, not coretta scott king.od whether you like it or not, this body has rules and we all should govern ourselves according to the rules. last night is no doubt that emotions were very high. i'm not necessarily happy with where that has left us today. t the senate needs to function. remember that point as the nation will be able to disagree
without being disagreeable. this should be the norm, not a unique experience in public discourse. having to preside, and my good s friend was making and eloquent presentation about where we are on issues of race. he was talking about the pain and suffering and today as i want to share my thoughts withut jeff sessions and how i've come to my conclusion, i thought it was important for me to not try to persuade people, but to the simply inform because this issue is not the issue simply about the next attorney general.
this is an issue about all of us. it's all of us as members of the into this is an issue that digs deepo to the core of the nation and to whom we can be and should be and how we will get there. so my objective here as i speako will not be to persuade the other side but your decision ist wrong. i don't think that is my responsibility or intention ore even to persuade those that believe that jeff sessions would be a good attorney they are wrong. i simply want to share.
they use to share the rest of the story because if you read the news reports, you walk away with a clear picture based on base facts, but not necessarily a picture based on truth. why many arenas and eco- chambers. my good friend last night spokeh about an american hero john in lewis. this may or may not be popular with everyone in the chamber of the conservative side or the liberal side but the reality is simply this. he was beaten within an inch of his life so that i would have
south. when i went under his experiences of having to step off of the sidewalk when white folks were coming. he learned never to look a white person in the eye. he was in his 40s and 60s. separation, segregation, humiliation. it's when the war began it was in my home city where nearly 40% of all the slaves would come through charleston south carolina into this lake charles tony an who came up with the
concept written into the constitution three fifths of as. man. also in 2010 they had the choice between strom thurmond's son and a young african-american guy. the evolution that occurred in the south can be seen very clearly on this day in charleston. it was over strom thurmond and one of the most popular
governors in the south carolina campbell junior. i thank god that's the south i have had a the experience to eny is a different charleston did my grandfather knew in his 94 years. but my life hasn't been on the privilege of promise as i said a few nights ago born in a singlen family household. anything you can think of, racial perspectives, good, note. too often. there is a need for us to crystallize what we are fighting about, who we are fighting for, how we are going to get there.rt this is an important day and an
important issue.l it is perhaps one of the most important decisions i will make about the cabinet. but i will tell you for me, this has been a challenging journey not taken lightly. i will be black when i leave this body so when i think about some of the comments and challenges around the trial of the kkk and the turner family, i wanted to know more about what it is we are talking about, not by reading it in the paper but calling folks in alabama. not the guy i served with, butro
the guy that has the most powerful position in law enforcement. i wanted to know firsthand who he was before he was nominated and how he would respond in a room filled with african-american leaders, myself and my best friend in congress throughout south carolinaaders t meetings of pastors and leadersg coming together to try to bridge the gap that is obviously broken between law enforcement. i brought jeff sessions down to see from an instance how he interacts with these pastors.
they thought about how the justice department leadershipity would act. i wonder if my friends in the chamber have had a chance to sei what others think, not the political eco- chamber or the organizations that the run-of-the-mill people. so i have that experience. i'm glad i took the time to know jeff sessions the best i can from what i've read from 1986, but i saw in my own city in charleston with the history.
if not for the u.s. attorney general because of the debate that we are going through in this body. apart because the country is being pulled apart from extremes on both. this isn't healthy for the country. too often, too many particularly on the right are found guilty until proven innocent on issues of race and issues of fairness. when they come into my office over the next several feet, i im used to being attacked. the chances are very high you
will be attacked. it comes with the territory and i've had it for 20 years, two decades. my friend in staff are not used to the level of animus that comes from the liberal left to suggest that i'm not hopeful to the cause of liberal america and therefore i'm not hopeful to black america because they see those as one in the same. pages i brought some of the pages of the tests and the comments i get from twitter send an uncle tim's got.
it is in firs isn't first off, t fertilizer. my chief of staff the only african-american chief of staff in the united states out of 100 is the chie chief of staff for e republicans. the second african-american chief of staff in the senate is the chief of staff of thef republicans. and yet they say it's the implication that she is not black enough.ed
go on to read from folks that wanted to share their opinions about jeff sessions is a disgrace to the black race. anthony burn says you and uncle tom scott, mr. sessions, how did he turn on his own.f senator tim scott is not an uncle tom. he also writes a black man who's a racist, think for your selves.
i left out all the ones that use appr the n-word. i felt like that would not be appropriate. but i'm surprised by is the liberal left that speaks and desires for all of us to be tolerant do not want to be tolerant of anyone that disagrees with where they are coming from. it experiences the so-called asi tolerance.ll
to. it was outrageous that i would invite them to meet with this guy and they didn't have an invitation so i invited the leaders i didn't tell anyone who was coming, because i wanted folks to walk into the room and come to their own conclusion. they decided not to show up because the conservatives invited them. i didn't know why but i wanted everyone to have a chance, and o they did. here's some other interesting facts i haven't seen all of us to engage in a conversation around the nation about race and justice to only have part of the story to me is an unfortunate reality that we should get used to but the reality is 50 years
ago in 1966, senator sessions campaigned against george wallace's life for governor as a senator. o jeff sessions voted in favor of the civil rights act. he was one of only 17 republicans to support the first black attorney general eric holder. he spearheaded the effort to battle for rosa parks and at the alabama native and civil rightsd icon and worked as my good friend from new jersey said as i presided that he and jeffogether sessions worked wonderfully welo together in awarding the congressional gold medal to the soldiers of the civil rights movement in selma alabama. who
jeff sessions for more than 30he years and said in an interview that he's never encountered racial insensitivity from sessions in the three decades. the alabama senator and democratic leader said we've talked about some civil rights to race relations and i think once you gain the position likeu that, actually a partnership has to go outside because you represent the united states and all the people. i feel confident that jeff sessions will be an attorney general that will look at it from all perspectives to just do
what is right for the citizens of the united states. oba from the former obamai thi administration i think you'll be fine. i consider him a friend. at least he will listen as attorney general. my hope is that he will do what is best for all of the american people. we are not talking about folks that grew up in my new south, the way we have changed.
i've been african-american manje for 71 years and i think i know a racist when i see one. he is far from being a racist and is a good person, a decent person. it was clear the senator had any interest in the antidiscrimination laws that are vigorously enforced.with senator sessions is a man of great character and integrity, fairness and justice under the law. fred gray is an iconic figure
who is in african-american civil rights attorney that represented the reverend doctor martin luther king jr. and representede rosa parks and those exploited in the experiment from the government. and here is what he said the letter is from 2016. they would follow in the foot steps of the late justice hugo black. i expressed appreciation and i look forward to working with you in any future capacity which the lord permits you to serve that he wrote with jeff sessions.
the. we are not talking about someone that doesn't appreciate the weight and the importance of civil rights in this nation. william smith who was hired as the first african-american chief counsel to the senate judiciary committee by jeff sessions,re, trendsetter. he is a man that cared for me and looked out for me and had my best interest in mind and for anybody that says anything different, simply doesn't know jeff sessions. one last statement because this is an important one for my perspective. i mentioned earlier that there was a case against a couple
however, despite our politicaltn differences, the senator and i share certain values including the love of our state, the people and the country. beginning with the voter fraud case in which my parents were ad descendents in the policy and ideology with then do not translate to personal malice he is not a racist, as i said before at no time since then orm now.
he was presented with evidence and that is what prosecutors do. i believe him when he said he was doing his job. jeff sessions also worked on the case is. they solved the murder of a 19-year-old african-american michael donald, sessions u.s. attorney office prosecuted as an accomplice obtaining a guilty plea to the state court where he
received a death penalty which wasn't available at the time. there is another case jeff sessions participated in. de jeff sessions joined in bringing the lawsuit and the department of justice to stop the suppression of african-americana voting rights in the united states. the officials including the chair of the local republican ct party. they use alabama to replace the
systems and go to a single member districts of african-americans would have a better chance to be elected. jeff sessions supported it and the aclu supported it into thehe civil rights division they were successful. finally on the criminal justice issue, according to senator dick durbin during the confirmation se hearing. to reduce the disparity between crack and powder cocaine from
100 to one to where it is today, he even fought against the bush administration to bring that disparity down. they fought for me topublic participate fully the greatest experiment of governing. iif you judge a man not by the color of his skin nor the state of his birth but by the story that his life tells by the content of his